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Fairfax Publications: 12 Month Readership Results

Fairfax Publications – Readership Results 12 Months To December 2005

The latest Nielsen readership results from Fairfax New Zealand’s stable of newspapers and magazines have confirmed the strength of New Zealand’s largest publisher.

Based on a combined average issue readership of its newspapers and magazines, Fairfax New Zealand reaches 84.3% or 2,677,000 New Zealanders 15 yrs+.

Among daily newspapers The Dominion Post is a stand out performer, gaining more new readers per average issue than any other daily newspaper. Readership by all people 15 yrs+ is up by 10,000 taking it to 254,000, an increase of 4.1%.

The Dominion Post has also increased penetration in the capital city, with half (50.7%) of all Wellingtonians reading the paper each day and over three quarters (75.9%) reading it each week. The newspaper continues to demonstrate extensive reach throughout the Central region.

Similarly The Press gained in readership with an extra 6,000 daily readers (+2.6%) taking it to 233,000. This paper continues to perform strongly, recording continual readership gains year on year since 2003. In Christchurch well over half of the population read the paper each day (55.3%) while an impressive 82% read it each week. The Press reaches more Mainlanders than any other newspaper.

Fairfax’s third metropolitan newspaper, The Waikato Times recorded a daily readership of 94,000 with three quarters (74.5%) of Hamiltonians reading the paper in a typical week.

Commenting on these results Joan Withers, CEO, Fairfax New Zealand says: “These results show that Fairfax metropolitan newspapers continue to perform strongly with combined average issue readership increasing at both a national level and in the markets they serve.”

Likewise, other Fairfax Dailies demonstrate strong market connection and relevance through high penetration levels, occupying the majority of the top 10 daily newspapers ranked by local market penetration.

Marlborough Express has the highest average issue local market penetration of any daily newspaper at 68.4%*, followed by Taranaki Daily News at 67.7%*, independent Gisborne Herald comes in 3rd place, followed by The Timaru Herald with a penetration of 64.5%*. The Southland Times (55.8%*), The Press (55.3%*) and The Nelson Mail (54.8%*) also rank in the top 10 dailies by penetration level. In comparison the NZ Herald’s penetration in the Auckland market has slipped year on year to 38.6% down from 42.8%.

Combined Fairfax Regional Newspapers have remained steady year on year with a combined average issue readership of 263,000, versus 265,000 in 2004, and a combined weekly readership of 362,000, 15yrs+ nationally.

Within the weekend market, Sunday Star Times remains the country’s most read Sunday newspaper based on average issue readership with 625,000 readers 10 yrs+. Sunday News remains New Zealand’s most popular tabloid newspaper with a readership of 443,000, 10yrs+. Fairfax’s Sunday Combo reaches 888,000 New Zealanders each weekend, demonstrating the strength of Fairfax’s national reach.

The overall trend in the Auckland market remains challenging for most media, including Sunday Star-Times, which experienced a decline in readership of 6.4% 10yrs+. The Weekend Herald’s penetration dropped 5.8% or 51,000 10yrs+ year on year while television’s average weekend audience (10yrs+ in peak time) fell by 4.4% comparing 2005 to the previous year. According to Nielsen Media Research radio daypart measurement, weekend radio listenership also experienced a decline.

Joan Withers said the Sunday Star-Times has put significant editorial, promotional and merchandising initiatives in place to counter the overall market trend and drive growth in Auckland.

Interestingly with declines for the Weekend Herald year on year, APN has only grown their Auckland total unduplicated weekend reach by 3,000 readers comparing 2004 to 2005, despite the fact they now have an additional weekend paper. Last year the Weekend Herald recorded an Auckland readership of 447,000 15yrs+ and this year the Weekend Herald and the Herald on Sunday combined had a total reach in Auckland of just 450,000, 15yrs+.

The Sunday category shows a total of 1,052,000 New Zealanders 10 yrs+ reading one of the three Sunday newspapers, equating to nearly one third (30.2%) of all New Zealanders. Of those reading a Sunday paper 706,000 (67.1%) are exclusive Fairfax Sunday readers choosing to read either Sunday Star-Times or Sunday News. Only 15.5% of Sunday newspaper readers choose to read the Herald on Sunday exclusively.

Sunday Magazine continues to have strong appeal to readers with nearly seven out of 10 (67.9%) 10yrs+ of those who read the Sunday Star-Times choosing to read Sunday Magazine.

Fairfax Magazines strong portfolio of titles continue to hold their own in a very active magazine environment, with market-leading titles reinforcing their positions at the top of their respective categories.

NZ House & Garden held its readership level, delivering more than double that of the nearest competing Home and Garden title with 641,000 readers every issue. Cuisine further strengthened its primary readership base to 32.9%, despite a significant number of new entrants in the food category. This performance follows on from its recent Gourmet Voice World Media Award title as the “world’s best food magazine”. Fairfax’s leading gardening title, NZ Gardener delivered 211,000 readers in its 62nd year of publication – more than double its nearest competitor.

Fairfax Specialist Magazines’, Fish & Game NZ, NZ Fishing News and Boating New Zealand have seen remarkable gains in their readership year on year with increases of 21.5% to 254,000, 11.8% to 285,000 and 14.1% to 154,000 respectively, firmly cementing their spots at the top of the marine category.

Growth was achieved by the other niche Fairfax magazines. NZ Horse & Pony had a readership increase of 11.1% to 70,000 and NZ Trucking increased its readership by 2.6% to 78,000.

Sources:

Nielsen Media Research National Readership Survey Jan-Dec 2005

Nielsen Media Research National Readership Survey Jan-Dec 2004

*Nielsen Media Research Regional Readership Survey Jan-Dec 2005

AGB Nielsen Media Research TV Ratings, (Peak -1800-2230) 2004, 2005

Ends.

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